US lighter icon Zippo plans big Indian expansion | business | Hindustan Times
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US lighter icon Zippo plans big Indian expansion

business Updated: Oct 02, 2011 23:05 IST
Rachit Vats

Zippo Manufacturing, a US lighter making firm that has diversified into other goods built around its iconic brand status, is gearing up to expand in India with a wide range of product.

In a dual strategy, Zippo is primarily looking at introducing brand extensions and aims to spring from having a 'lighters only' presence to men's apparel, outdoor and camping gear, writing instruments and products for home; which will be supported by a retail strategy.

"We have been in the lighter business for eighty-years and while it remains our flagship and now we are moving into newer areas," said David Warfel, director, global marketing, Zippo.

"Over the next 18 months we are aiming at aggressively introducing newer products from across other verticals which will be seen as a Zippo brand," he said.

While Zippo's current sales figures are small, its brand equity is higher and according to Warfel it's valued as a $1 billion company.

The company sees India as a strategic market outside the United States and next to China and aiming to grow tenfold over the next few years once its retail strategy is put in place.

"We are aggressively looking at opening exclusive stores and expanding our retail distribution in India. The discussions with potential partners are on. The lighter business will continue to represent who we are but over time it will represent only a fraction of our business as the other verticals grow," he said.

Even today Zippo lighters are manufactured at the firm's hometown Bradford in the Pennsylvania state, United States. The rest of the products shall be sourced from various locations around the world.